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Oklahoma higher education chief announces retirement

Higher Education Chancellor Allison Garrett, pictured at a June 27 meeting, announced she will retire in January.
Emma Murphy
Oklahoma Voice
Higher Education Chancellor Allison Garrett, pictured at a June 27 meeting, announced she will retire in January.

The chief of Oklahoma’s higher education system announced she will retire from the position after three years in office.

Last week, Higher Education Chancellor Allison Garrett said her retirement will be effective in January. She was hired to the role in November 2021, succeeding 14-year Chancellor Glen Johnson.

In the months ahead, she said she looks forward to more time with family and “a career capstone opportunity to complete an international project in late fall.”

“Serving the people of Oklahoma and working collaboratively with our State Regents, elected officials, campus personnel, and business and community partners to help move this great state forward has been an honor,” Garrett said in a news release.

The chancellor is the chief executive officer of Oklahoma’s higher education system, made up of 25 public colleges and universities and their local governing boards. The role also acts as a statewide leader in higher education policy, funding, tuition and fee levels, and courses and programs of study.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has not yet described its plan to find Garrett’s successor. The nine-member board is the state’s highest authority over public colleges and universities, and each of its members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

The regents’ chairperson, Dennis Casey, listed multiple “key accomplishments” reached under Garrett’s tenure, including an increase in the number of college graduates, development of the system’s Blueprint 2030 strategic plan and updated policies to empower institutions to quickly meet business needs, among others.

“We thank Chancellor Garrett for her tireless service and advocacy on behalf of Oklahoma’s higher education system,” Casey said in a statement. “… We respect her decision and the time she is providing that will allow us to develop and execute a succession plan.”

Garrett, originally from Neosho, Missouri, was the president of Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, and held senior leadership roles at other universities before accepting the Oklahoma chancellor position. Before that, she spent more than a decade in the Walmart corporate offices as a vice president and general counsel.

She graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in English, completed law school at the University of Tulsa and earned a master of laws degree in securities regulation from Georgetown University.

Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence.

Nuria Martinez-Keel covers education for Oklahoma Voice. She worked in newspapers for six years, more than four of which she spent at The Oklahoman covering education and courts. Nuria is an Oklahoma State University graduate.
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